images The Cloud Conundrum

images The world created and replicated enough data in 2011 to fill over 50 billion iPads—a cost equivalent to the GDP of the United States, Japan, China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy combined.1

When Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, introduced the company's latest breakthrough, the Kindle Fire, in late 2011, the visionary declared it “the culmination of the many things we've [Amazon.com] been doing for 15 years.”2 With the Fire, Amazon planned to take on the 800-pound gorilla in the tablet category, the Apple iPad. Although the two devices may have appeared similar in form factor and functionality to the general public, the strategy behind each product couldn't have been more different. Apple had earned the coveted position as the most valued company in the world, with a $465 billion market capitalization that exceeded Exxon's $400 billion in early 2012,3 based on a strategy of delivering better machines (91% of its revenues are device sales, compared with just 6% from iTunes).4 In contrast, Amazon survived the web bubble burst to rise as the most successful online retailer based on a content approach—with almost half of its revenues derived from sales of media like books, movies, music, and television shows.5 With Apple emphasizing a download approach ...

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